Chemistry and Biochemistry

Students Present Research and YChem Receives Honorable Mention at National Meeting

Posted: Apr 12, 2011

The student chapter of the American Chemical Society at BYU, the Y Chem Society, just received a student chapter honorable mention for its accomplishments in 2009-2010 at the 241st ACS National Meeting & Exposition in Anaheim, Calif., March 27-31. In addition to receiving the award, nearly all of the Y Chem members in attendance also had the opportunity to present their research at the conference.

Dr. Daniel Austin, the faculty advisor for Y Chem, was pleased that the group was recognized.

“We had a lot of really great activities last year,” he said. “ACS was most interested in the nerd dance and our sports teams. There’s a picture of our Frisbee team [in this month’s issue of In Chemistry.] I think we’re the only undergraduate student chapter with sports teams – at least, the only one I know about.”

Getting a photo in the In Chemistry magazine is an additional bonus to the honorable mention award.

Of significance is the fact that seventeen of the nineteen students who represented Y Chem at the National ACS meeting presented their research.

“This was the largest number of undergraduate students to present at a national meeting from our department,” Dr. Austin added. “[It’s good experience because] they’re speaking to a real audience at a real conference- one of the biggest conferences in the world.”

In order to present research at an ACS meeting, students have to “do research, get results, have a faculty advisor help, write an abstract and submit it to the conference,” Dr. Austin said. “The ACS often accepts them [the submissions] and they present with a poster or a talk.”

The attending students not only had an opportunity to share their research, but were able to learn from others, Dr. Austin said. And although the ACS has two national meetings every year, Dr. Austin emphasized the spring meeting as the perfect time for students to attend.

“There were a lot of seniors that went [this year],” Dr. Austin said. “Seniors get to present the culmination of their research from their years at BYU.”

Sara Pratt, a senior from Las Vegas, said she was impressed that so many students from Y Chem presented “really good posters,” and appreciated her own opportunity to present.

“I loved the opportunity to present at a national conference,” Pratt said in an e-mail. “I [was] able to talk to people who were interested in my work and get exposure on a national level, which I wouldn't have had otherwise. It was also wonderful to be able to attend talks and poster sessions about such a variety of developing topics in chemistry. It was good to present as a senior. I've been researching with Dr. Austin for the past two years, so I was able to present what I've been working on for that time.”

Katie Pulsipher said she thought the conference was awesome.

“The ACS is a huge organization, so they have a lot of things going on for all the branches of chemistry,” Pulsipher said in an e-mail. “We were able to attend events specifically geared toward undergrads such as networking sessions with graduate schools and people in industry, socials, and lectures. We also attended many oral presentations depending on what our research interests are, and poster sessions. In addition to attending the conference every day we also went to Disneyland, the Newport Beach temple, the beach, and the Jet Propulsion Lab (run by NASA/Caltech) in Pasadena.”

Lindsey Mills shows off her

periodic table bag at the 

ACS meeting in California.

Naomi Martineau answers questions about her 

research at the ACS meeting. 

By Jessica Henrie 

Photos courtesy of Y Chem